Growing Dragon Tongue Heirloom Beans

Friends Drift Inn Farm – Gardening

Heirloom beans Dragon Tongue

Heirloom Beans – Purple Stripy Dragon Tongues

Maybe the name scared them, but our small row of Dragon Tongue wax beans managed to escape the hungry deers graze. This is my first year to grow Dragon Tongues aka Dragon Langerie, an heirloom bean said to originate in the Netherlands. Well, that’s not exactly true. I grew them last year, but they got flooded along with much of my community.

I usually grow Cherokee Wax Beans; but I like to mix things up from time to time. Just because I like “heirlooms” does not mean I am stuck in my ways! I love quirky vegetables….and the look on my nephews faces when I show them a purple tomato or a lemon yellow cucumber.

Dragon Tongue Heirloom Beans Fresh from the Garden

I was not sure what to expect with the Dragon Tongues; the plain brown seeds did little to inspire me. I had seen pictures, and yes they are lovely on the vine. Yes, they are attention grabbers at the farmers market. But what I really want to know is how do they produce and how do they taste?

Everything took a little longer this year to reach the so called “maturity date.” I think it had to do with the intense heat. The garden stayed healthy, but blooms and fruit were in a stall for several weeks.

Dragon Tongue, a bush bean, stayed bushy during this time and received minimal damage from the cursed Mexican Bean Beetles.

I put out about a 50 foot row. I got my first picking today about three gallons. The beans are flat and wide. The coloring is lovely, purple mottles on a soft yellow background. Note to culinary folks, the purple fades when cooked. These beans are stringless, so it is quick work to break them up for cooking. Known as a bean for fresh eating, I threw them in a pot of water with some salt and a little bacon grease. They cooked up nicely.


This is a subtle bean; easy to pair with just bout anything you want to put on the menu. They are mellow and lingering but not strong flavored. There is a little hint of nutty sweetness, but not the robust flavor of say “Old Dutch.” The experts say this is not a bean for canning or freezing, and with my time constraints I have not set out to prove them wrong.

I’m going to try Dragon Tongue just warmed up in a skillet of olive oil with a little garlic. We will see when the next “flush” comes on.

Catch you in the garden!

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About Joyce Pinson

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.